A lot of my attraction to cards has to do with the seemingly unlimited possibilities you get with such a limited object. What’s so fresh about the art of card flourishing is the aesthetics, the element of surprise, and the fact that it can be appreciated all over the world.

It feels as if we are in a bit of a revolution when it comes to the art. Believe me when I say there aren’t going to be as many basic moves created in 10 years as there are today. To me, being able to paint a part of the card flourishing history has been one of my drives to create cuts over the years.

Sometimes it feels like mining gold. But how do you separate the gold from the dirt?

Not getting caught up

If I come up with a cool opener, or any cool move one morning, I give it a closer by the time I go to bed. Usually, I’m not too picky about how I enwrap my ideas in closers and openers in the earliest stages of creating a cut. I’ve found this way of keeping my cuts in a more “finished” unfinished state — rather than having several ideas with no closers — to be a more effective way of coming up with new moves. This way I’m able to perform my latest ideas to myself and get back to the grips in a natural way, rather than awkwardly unpacking the cut.

Here’s an unfinished idea with a temporary closer.

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It used to take days, weeks or even longer to finish ideas when I tried to come up with “the perfect way” to execute every part of the flourish chronologically.

When I use temporary closers, openers, or peaks of flourishes, I tend not to get too attached to different small ideas that might come in the way of the appearance of the flourish.

By doing so, I allow myself to have more new moves simultaneously, and thereby am able to scrap what doesn’t make the cut (pun intended).

Sometimes I love my new moves, sometimes I don’t.

What’s important for me is to try to shoot all of my moves and then store them in a folder on my computer. It’s cool to use subfolders with ‘3-packet cuts’, ‘displays’ etc.

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Labelling my flourishes lets me judge them easier. That’s right, I judge my flourishes, and over the years I do it more and more. Don’t be afraid of scrapping ideas — if they’re good they’ll probably conveniently pop up later anyway, at least that’s been my experience.

Pushing the comfort zone

I believe that when performing cardistry to laymen it’s about performance as opposed to showing off your new concepts or techniques. Therefore I think it’s important to create a comfort zone with “safe flourishes” that you can perform at any given time.

“Shouldn’t all my flourishes be within the comfort zone?”, you may ask, but no. As long as you’re looking to get better, you have to get out of the comfort zone once in a while. Which basically means that you have a couple of moves that are too hard for you to perform decently every time at the current moment.

Anyhow, when it comes to what’s a decent performance of a flourish, there might be some different opinions on what is and what isn’t. I’m saying that as long as you’re in control of closing your cut properly, it really isn’t that important what happens along the way.

Beyond that, it’s kind of common sense what is and isn’t a decent performance.

Messy packets

The latest year, people seem to be obsessed with clean packet cuts.

There’s a Norwegian word, “kunst”, which basically means “art”. My piano teacher once told me about the old German pianists and how great their skill was, compared to the rest of the european pianists. He told me how they interpreted “kunst” in the meaning of the word it derived from, the Dutch “kunnen”, which basically means “to be able to”. But, despite not allowing for mistakes or imperfections, all of these musicians ended up sounding the same.

When it comes to creating cuts, I try not to eliminate what is ugly or uncomfortable in the earliest stages of the creative process to see if it can open the gates to some real gold.

I really enjoy clean packet cuts though, but I wouldn’t let that come in the way of my creative thinking. Not every cut allows for clean packets.

What’s next

We think we have a concept about how a cut should look, or even feel. I try to forget about that as often as I can, and seek that beginner feeling over and over. What I mean by that is that I never get too happy with what I’ve got. The chase is better than the kill, to put it that way.

So the next time you’re creating a cut,  challenging your idea of how a cut should look is a good way to begin. It’s not always about what you do, but also about how you do it.

I’m thrilled to see the new styles and techniques that the community will have to offer in the years to come.


You can watch Henrik’s latest video, ALIEN END, in glorious 1080p below.

About Henrik Forberg

20-year-old cardist from Oslo, Norway. Follow me @henrikforberg for more.